George was 14 when he died. He was my grandfather’s twin brother. His picture is on the left. The other portrait is:
“My youngest brother Stanley, a very prince of fisherman when still in his ‘teens’, the gay hearted and wise young surgeon in the Navy, who died at Chatham when he was only twenty-two.”
And there’s the curious thing – nowhere in any of the essays I’ve read so far, is George mentioned.
In a few of grandfather’s essays, chiefly those concerning fishing or his beloved Yorkshire moors, there are wistful references to holidays or fishing trips with the brothers who had died (a third brother died young, Edwin, at 17 years of age, but I have no portrait of him), but there’s never any mention of George.
There are hints in the essays of grandfather’s childhood as lively and boisterous, and probably quite free-roaming. I imagine it must have been brilliant if the twins were close – which I understand is generally the case – they probably got up to all sorts of mischief. Then, just as they hit their teens George – who was also the oldest boy of the family, died.
When George was just a name and dates on the family tree, the facts were sad enough. But then I started reading the essays, and we found this little picture of George with his direct, even slightly truculent stare, and he began to bother me. The man I am learning to know as my grandfather shows a sensitive, loving, even quite romantic nature, and I wonder about the loss of his twin, especially at such an age – but I wonder more that he never mentions him.